Darren Rowse has posted an excellent analysis on the inner workings of the Google Blogsearch made available through their patent application in September 2005. As Darren mentions, the application makes no mention of Blogsearch and merely calls its a ‘blog search engine’. Vinod Marur among others are cited as inventors. The algorithm under patent-pending status focuses on several factors in order to rank a blog in its search results. Most of the factors were quite surprising and extended beyond the usual inbound links, traffic, etc. I am listing a few factors which are elaborated upon extensively by Darren.
I have emphasized the importance of your feed readers and even offered tips to make the subscription process easier. Google now gives importance to how many subscribers are reading your content through feed readers and having control over Google Reader, one of the Web’s leading RSS readers gives them an accurate count of your subscriber base and lets them extrapolate to a relatively accurate degree regarding rest of the apps. I suppose they might even consider buying out Feedburner to have complete control over your feeds. Feed readers constitute a loyal readership base and higher the number of subscribers, the better and popular a blog is considered to be [it is now official, full feeds are better]. Hence preference in search results.
Chances are that your blog already pops up in Google Search and Google is keeping an eye on those statistics. More the number of inbound clicks to your blog, the better ranked it will be. This relates to search-optimizing your blog; a topic I’ll cover in the coming weeks.
Most bloggers have a list of favorite blogs they read on the sidebar of their own blogs. These links are given a heavier weightage by Google since they are considered to be solid endorsement of a blog’s reputation. You wouldn’t put up a link on your blogroll unless you really like the blog and read it regularly. These blogrolls are also a useful source of traffic to those blogs, as we saw in the DesiPundit survey. If a higher-ranked blog puts you on its blogroll, Google considers that a supreme endorsement and your rankings may jump exponentially.
I know, I am guilty ofnot putting up such a list since I believe in linking to another blog within the content of my post. That makes it more relevant and even leads to better click-throughs. But I’m working on an aesthetically pleasing method for displaying my blogroll rather than a long list of blogs on a continually scrolling sidebar. Stay tuned.
You may wonder why many bloggers have the ‘Share This’ or ‘Submit to Digg’ button when most of their posts might not be considered Digg-worthy. But the influence of the social media and ever-increasing number of online users who make use of these social media tools make it almost impossible to ignore. Remember that due to sheer numbers on the net, your otherwise insignificant post might be considered a gold mine by a niche audience. Google understands the growing importance of these tools and the use of tags makes it easier for it to categorize content.
Email and Chat
Now, this is a seemingly scary factor. When Gmail launched with contextual ads, people were (and still are) afraid that Google was reading their email. Well, now they take it a step further. When someone sends a link to your blog via an email or chat message,Google tracks those clicks and accordingly uses it in their ranking factors. The logical argument is that only relevant and reputable content will be spread virally through email and chats. Google’s control over Gmail and GTalk gives them enough numbers to make it a viable factor.
As Google’s monopoly in search grows, they will be definitely leveraging all mediums of information diffusion. They can tweak factors and relative influence of certain mediums as those mediums grow in popularity.